How to Find Interns Who Will Add Value to Your Business

Janet Lee
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Stop and think about the biggest names in baseball. Clayton Kershaw? Dustin Pedroia? Bryce Harper? Before they even donned a professional uniform, they were scouts invited to play ball and try out for a chance to get into minor league baseball, and from there move into major league baseball as true pros. Businesses big and small use this same approach: they seek the top players out of college, fit them with an intern position if they pass the necessary requirements, and if they shine in their role, they often move up to work as paid employees.

It is vital for business growth that the best interns are sourced. An important yet very time-consuming process, it can waste lots of manpower if not done properly and efficiently. Since in many cases unpaid interns become paid full-time employees, it’s vital to know not only how to seek out the best candidates, but also make it as easy as possible for them to seek you out as well. Ultimately, it all comes down to being willing to demand the best people for your business, so don’t be shy in making your expectations loud and clear. If you want to find an intern who will add value to your business, here are some tips to consider.

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Attend Career Fairs

While many business activities are conducted online today, there’s still nothing that beats meeting someone face-to-face. This is especially true when it comes to interns, who are naturally enthusiastic about the possibility of gaining valuable job experience. By taking the time to talk with potential hires, you can assess not only their qualifications, but also their demeanor to see if they would be a good fit for your company. Even though attending one career fair after another can be time-consuming, it often pays off. According to industry statistics, 62 percent of interns hired by companies are still employed five years later, demonstrating the important role hiring the right interns plays in both short-term and long-term success.

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Don’t Overemphasize Experience

While it’s great to get interns who have some previous experience in your field, that doesn’t mean those with little or no experience won’t do just as well or maybe even better. According to business growth agencies, more and more college students are getting practical experience from classroom assignments, since professors now place an added emphasis on real life experience. In addition, top digital marketing specialists also note that by looking at a student’s extracurricular activities, it’s becoming easier to grasp the level of experience the student possesses, thus making it easier to hire the best candidates. If someone is active in sports, academic clubs, or charitable works it attests to their character, drive, and personality–all things that businesses value in creative personnel.

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Make Your Interns Part of the Team

When you hire an intern, don’t make the mistake of giving them a work area that’s separate from your paid personnel. Instead, be sure to make them feel as if they are part of the team from day one. Assign them a desk in the midst of your paid employees, give them a job title, hand them some business cards, and get them involved in a key project as soon as possible. By doing so, your company will soon gain a reputation around campus as the place where everyone wants to spend their summer break.

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Harvest Your Business Network

Along with attending career fairs, you can also find great interns by asking around within your professional network. Many times, business growth agencies get the perfect intern simply because someone knows a friend of a friend who has a kid in college who’s in need of a summer internship. By speaking with people you’ve known for years and whose opinion you trust and respect, chances are you’ll be able to find interns who will perform well not just during the summer, but for many years afterward as paid employees. Talk to colleagues you met at conferences, talk to clients, and try harvesting the best people from soil that is often overlooked.

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Utilize Social Media

In today’s high-tech world, there’s no better and quicker way to reach thousands of people instantly than by using social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Since virtually all companies have an online presence, spread the word a few months ahead of time that your company is looking for the best of the best to spend their summer working on some important projects. By doing this, it’s a certainty you’re bound to get plenty of students eager to talk with you. Look for social groups focused on career, internships, and college seniors, and engage group members with your eyes peeled for potential candidates.

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Look for Great Interns Who can Transition into Great Employees

While it’s always a difficult process to hire an intern, making the right decisions along the way to source the best of the best is a sure way to add value to your company and stimulate business growth for years to come. Be resourceful, think outside the box, and look for stirling characters. The best seeds grow flourishing gardens, but this doesn’t mean you want “garden variety” interns. Look for the best, and your company will stand to be the best in your industry for years to come.
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